“Misleading” Groupon ads banned

Online discount service Groupon has had three promotional advertisements banned because they were misleading about how much customers could save with its deals.

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The Advertising Standards Authority upheld the complaints and told Groupon to ensure all terms and conditions of promotions are made clear and that the extent of savings cannot be exaggerated in the future.

One e-mail ad claiming a saving of 60% on a meal for two at a South American restaurant was found to be misleading because one person had to pay for a full price meal in order for the discount to be valid.

Another complaint about a sales promotion for a 60% discount on a “Segway Safari” experience on the Groupon website was upheld because the ad failed to make it clear the deal was not available at weekends unless an extra £10 was paid.

A separate sales promotion on the Groupon website for a £83.50 meal for two for the price of £29 was also upheld on grounds of exaggeration because a complainant challenged that if two people were to pick the most expensive items on the menu the total sum would not amount to £83.50.

In response, Groupon said it has no commercial interest in misleading its customers but due to the number of deals that appear on the website each day, it is likely that human error can occur.

It said these errors will be addressed through extensive staff training and by incorporating quality control safeguards.

In December last year Groupon snubbed a reputed $6bn (£3.8bn) acquisition by Google and remains independent.

See Ruth Mortimer’s column on Groupon here

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